Potty training a 15 month old - Mothering Forums
Life with a Toddler > Potty training a 15 month old
LilBlossom's Avatar LilBlossom 12:19 PM 09-21-2010
We started potty training our son about 3 weeks ago. I tried the "no underwear" method, but thought that him wearing a loose fitting pair of underpants might help him in "feeling wet" and thus be more aware that he was peeing on himself. He doesn't talk yet, so we've tried to implement a hand signal for potty. For a while, we were down to 1-2 accidents a day, though that consisted of me getting up, and taking him to the potty. He never indicates that he needs to go and never will react to having wet underpants.

I THOUGHT I was seeing some improvements yesterday, as he had seemingly stopped mid pee, came over to get me, and we went to the potty. However, today I'm just at my wits end: I took him to the potty, he peed, then put him in the high chair, and the commenced to pee in the high chair. He will very often do things like that, and it is driving me insane. He also has gotten in the habit of waiting to pee until he gets to bed. I put him in cloth diapers with only one insert, so he'll feel the wetness. The diapers are SOAKED after his nap. I also feel that at times, he fakes tiredness, so that I'll put him to bed in a diaper, so he can pee in it. Even though he has just peed on the potty. And then he'll get all hyper in bed, and refuse to nap.

Part of me says this is currently a power struggle between the two of us: He's obviously capable of being accident free (or nearly), but for some reason chooses not to. I have the same feeling about him not talking: He gets what he wants through grunting, so why bother talking? He totally understand what we say to him, so there isn't a lack of linguistic skills. The only "word" he'll say is "Didl" (daddy) when he wants our attention or "mama" when he's in bed at night and not wanting to sleep. But, that's a different story.

Does anyone here have any suggestions on what to do? Is he old enough to understand a sticker-reward system? I currently take him to the potty every 30 mins or so and I cheer wildly when he pees or poops. But, still that doesn't seem to stop him from peeing on himself within minutes of getting off the potty chair. My husband says maybe he's not ready... But I'm not buying into the "wait for the child to be ready" thing. But yeah... someone help, please? I'm at wits end...

TheGirls's Avatar TheGirls 12:43 PM 09-21-2010
Well, I don't think you HAVE to "wait until the child is ready" but it's a lot easier if you do. I tried when DD was 23 months. We did "naked heiney" for 2 weeks and it mosty succeeded in making us both grumpy and feeling like we couldn't leave the house. DD never cared about being wet and never indicated she needed to use the potty. Sometimes she'd go when I put her on the potty (every half hour) but often she'd go right after I took her off. And she got so sick of the potty trips she'd start sobbing and yelling "no potty" and throwing tantrums.

I just tried again, at 28 months. After 2 days we were down to only a rare accident. We're travelling now, and even with all the distractions and new places that a train trip and the grandparent's house brings, she's only had 2 accidents, both of which were "stop mid stream and get mama before I finish" kind of accidents. She asks every time. I only set her on the potty if we're about to get in the car or when she gets up in the morning. Otherwise she comes and gets me and asks for her potty. The difference is really night & day.

I probably COULD have pushed through the issues we had last time. She clearly had the control to hold it, was only peeing a few times a day, etc, but she wasn't ready to do her part of it. I also wasn't interested in having a "potty trained" child who I had to put on the potty every hour just in case she had to pee, which is really all you can do until the child is ready to tell you they need to go. I'm so glad I waited. 4.5 months made all the difference in the world and this time she was really ready - no power struggles, no tears, no need to stay home for weeks so we didn't pee all over the grocery store, etc.
Comtessa's Avatar Comtessa 01:08 PM 09-21-2010
I've been working on some potty learning with my 16-month DD and we're having many of the same issues that you are. I'd love to have her using the potty regularly, but she just doesn't seem to "get" it. So, we use it when we think of it, and she gets wild acclaim when she does use it, and other than that we just use diapers. She'll figure it out in time, and in the meantime, we're just encouraging the potty as much as possible.

Like your DS, our DD is also still essentially nonverbal, so it would be hard for her to tell us when she has to go even if she had the self-awareness to know ahead of time. I really don't think she's ready to be able to potty learn on her own. That doesn't mean I can't try to "catch" as much as I can with the potty, and some days we're luckier than others, but I still consider it EC more than PL -- the onus is on me to watch for her signs, rather than on her to tell me what she needs. She's really too little to be potty trained.
LilBlossom's Avatar LilBlossom 01:15 PM 09-21-2010
Thanks for your responses. After having a quick chat with my husband we've decided to leave it for a month (or two) and go back to diapers during the day, so we can go back to having a (fun) life. As you say, TheGirls, we can hardly leave the house, because I want to be near a potty in case he needs to go. We'll still focus on taking him to the potty before and after meals and naps, as well as in the evening and morning. Just, going away from the constant taking him every 30 mins.

Maybe he'll stop faking his morning tiredness too then...
LadyCatherine185's Avatar LadyCatherine185 02:05 PM 09-21-2010
While potty training early is certainly doable, I think expecting a non-verbal 15 month old to potty train is pretty unreasonable, IMO. I think putting him on the potty a few times a day is great (we've been doing the same with my DS since he was about that age), but I would not try to fully potty train him until closer to age 2.
To-Fu's Avatar To-Fu 03:41 PM 09-21-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyCatherine185 View Post
While potty training early is certainly doable, I think expecting a non-verbal 15 month old to potty train is pretty unreasonable, IMO. I think putting him on the potty a few times a day is great (we've been doing the same with my DS since he was about that age), but I would not try to fully potty train him until closer to age 2.
I guess it depends on the child, but in general I agree. At this stage it's almost still EC.

So do the toilet when you're home and you can and don't sweat the rest. Try again in a while. We did what you did with our son when he was 18 months and he clearly wasn't ready (did the same things you describe); at 28 months, he initiated it and we have been mostly accident-free since, except for the occasional warning shot.
redvlagrl's Avatar redvlagrl 10:46 PM 09-22-2010
We just trained DD at 23 mths but she is very verbal. We did the Lori Jensen 3 day method which uses underpants, not naked bum. It's a day and night method. I think at 15 months it's probably a bit tough to go all out. But I would definitely keep sitting him on the potty/toilet so he is used to it.

Many people EC with a diaper backup so you could so that. At least then there is not too much mess to deal with. A prefold with a belt (piece of elastic around the waist) would make it fast to whip off when the time comes.

It's also very important to try and remain calm and unfrustrated (or not show it, LOL) as you don't want to overly pressure your child because this can cause anxiety.

I think he probably is too young to understand a sticker chart. DD is still too young. What she does get it 'rewards'. She really likes stickers so we had some that she would get when she went in an appropriate place. We phased them out slowly and have just phased out the 'poo stickers'. Poo training took us about 8 days (pees in 3 days) and I was at my wits' end by about day 5 because I was worried she wasn't getting it. I bribed her with a piece of chocolate ("you can have this chocolate after you poo"). This was against everything I believe in! It didn't work anyway and I felt bad about it for days. When she did finally go in the toilet I gave her the chocolate but none since (it's about the 3rd time she had tasted chocolate in her life) so I could keep my word.

I think technically we trained 'early' (none of her friends who are older are trained except a 2.5 year old who is in the process). The drag is that just like clothes aren't made for cloth bums, they also aren't made for underpants! They are all too big!
colsxjack's Avatar colsxjack 11:35 PM 09-22-2010
Personally I think that 15 months old is too young to be expected to use the potty and not have accidents.
I do not even think a child can sense that they have to pee at that age. And even if he can sense it, if he cant communicate it to you then you are just setting yourself up for frustration and disappointment. My DD is 14 months old and there is no way she senses or has control of her need to pee. She will pee when she is standing, walking, whatever. She still seems surprised when she is going without a diaper and pees. She def. has no control over needing to poo.

What is the rush? Why are you wanting him to learn to go on the potty so early? I personally think your expectations of your son and his capabilities with potty learning and language expression are too high. Just because he can understand language and understand what the potty is for doesn't mean he has the ability to speak and control the need to pee.
My advice would be to ease up on him, let him be a baby and try again around his second birthday (if not later).

You said: "Part of me says this is currently a power struggle between the two of us: He's obviously capable of being accident free (or nearly), but for some reason chooses not to. I have the same feeling about him not talking: He gets what he wants through grunting, so why bother talking? He totally understand what we say to him, so there isn't a lack of linguistic skills. The only "word" he'll say is "Didl" (daddy) when he wants our attention or "mama" when he's in bed at night and not wanting to sleep. But, that's a different story."

I am sure your baby is brilliant...but I am also quite sure that he isn't living just to have a power struggle with you and mess with your head. Give him and yourself a break.
NYMommy2007's Avatar NYMommy2007 01:47 PM 09-23-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by colsxjack View Post

What is the rush? Why are you wanting him to learn to go on the potty so early? I personally think your expectations of your son and his capabilities with potty learning and language expression are too high. Just because he can understand language and understand what the potty is for doesn't mean he has the ability to speak and control the need to pee.
My advice would be to ease up on him, let him be a baby and try again around his second birthday (if not later).

I am sure your baby is brilliant...but I am also quite sure that he isn't living just to have a power struggle with you and mess with your head. Give him and yourself a break.
I couldn't have said it better myself. Any "potty training" that you do now really is just EC because he probably doesn't have the dexterity at this point to pull down/up his pants and wipe himself so why put the pressure on him if he clearly isn't ready?
kismetbaby's Avatar kismetbaby 03:19 PM 09-23-2010
We have been doing EC-light as I call it since my DS was about 3m old. Basically we EC when we're at home and whenever DS isn't fighting me about it (he goes through phases of just not wanting to sit on the potty). I want it to be something he knows about, but not something he grows to hate.

He is almost a year old and just started signing the word "potty". He doesn't speak yet, but has about a dozen signs and clearly understands a lot of what we say. He will now sign potty as he is pooping (but not ahead of time), but I don't think he knowns when he is peeing. I do give him some diaper free time at home and the other day he peed on th kitchen floor and was super interested in it (well, in splashing in it) so I talked to him about it and for awhile after that he would look down at his penis and sign potty. It was pretty cute.

Anyway, this is all to say that although we have been doing EC and although he can sign potty and clearly has some awareness, I still don't think he would be capable of being potty trained yet. I'd love for him to be potty trained by 2yo, but I want to do it when he is ready and not get into the battles about it.
mcoreen's Avatar mcoreen 03:39 PM 09-24-2010
I've been doing EC-light with my DS since 4 months, he's now 18 months. I think the key is to not worry about accidents or misses. Since I have no carpets it's no big deal if he pees or poos on the floor. DH does mind so we keep naked butt time mainly when it's just me & DS. I keep potty's nearby & clean up supplies. If I notice DS starting to pee or poo I give him the potty. The other thing is not to give too many reminders to potty. That always annoys DS & makes him more likely to refuse. I put fun stickers on the potty to make it more interesting & we clap if he goes in the potty or toilet. Sometimes during bare butt time he will take himself to the potty. Other times he doesn't. I concentrate on the ones I know I can get & just forget the others. He will potty train eventually, for now he knows what the potty is for.
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